Shaun Evert Gariseb
Most Namibians will agree that these curfews are only economic suffocation more than anything. The transport and SME sector are suffering the most. In Africa, curfews are used as political grandstanding without taking cognisance of people’s socio-economic rights. In poor societies bedevilled by unemployment, and where the majority relies on informal trade, continuing with the curfew is a downright infringement of people’s rights and possibilities.
Governments must be alive to open air travel and cross border travel loosely... as it stands its armageddon in countries like India, yet our leaders have not done anything to stem the tide or influx of people from those regions. We open ourselves to danger and then continue with overly drastic methods on our people. It is a known fact that countries that quickly limit the influx of travellers into their territories have been hit less by this pandemic...and with this Indian variant, we are sitting ducks.
The spread of corona can be mitigated by imperatively imposing measures such as wearing masks, regularly washing your hands, and minimising the number of people who gather publicly. Going to bed at 22h00 has not been scientifically shown to reduce the spread of corona. The curfew rule is therefore not rationally connected to the purpose which it seeks to achieve.
Our parents often narrate the gruesome tales of a curfew imposed upon them through draconian apartheid proclamations and implemented with utmost brutality by then Koevoet. The idea then was to make urban life so unbearable that the natives flock back to rural areas. Is it statistically proven that corona is likely to infect people between 22h00 and 05h00? There is simply no data to underscore the need to impose a curfew on the masses.
The nightlife sector in itself is a job market, we should limit opening hours or at least allow sales and off-premise consumption. This way they limit close-quarter gatherings etc, since the latter part of 2020, Namibia’s labour and employment sector went through a difficult time of economic downturn due to Covid-19 and close to 9 000 Namibians lost their jobs and income as businesses struggle to remain operational and profitable, the nightlife sector is most affected.
Winter is in sight and it’s a season that may come with a false perception of Covid-19 cases due to its nature of every other person catching a cold, which may result in a perpetuation of this curfew, something we are tentative about.
Before we are accused of peddling the relaxation of important rules in society, perhaps it would be prudent to point out that both authors herein are survivors of Covid-19, and perhaps it is important to also state that such was not incurred between 22h00 and 05h00.